Have you ever wondered about statistics around cheating and plagiarism at the University of Surrey? If so, then this article is for you! Statistics released in a Freedom of Information request provide statistics for three academic years between 2014 and 2017. Cheating continues to be a problem for Universities all around the world, with the Internet making it easier than ever before to gain an unfair advantage. Read on for more, with analysis included!
To be specific, the statistics released pertained to the number of cases of academic misconduct at the University. This accounts for both plagiarism and/or cheating in both coursework and examinations. Plagiarism is the act where students copy work from an outside source, before trying to claim it as their own work. All assignments handed in are scrutinised by online software which searches for any plagiarism. Cheating typically involves smuggling in notes to exams, or annotating materials, but can be anything within reason.
In the 2014-15 Academic year, there were 45 cases. Yet in the 2015-16 Academic year, many student’s appeared to go off the rails – with 97 cases in the year alone! The 2016-17 Academic year witnessed a decline – with 59 cases reported. There are approximately 15,000 students at the University – meaning a minimal amount are attempting to gain an unfair advantage. However this number of course doesn’t take into account those that successfully cheated or plagiarised.
The outcome of these cases appeared to be the same. All of those found guilty were awarded with a mark of zero – though somewhat controversially, a resit was offered wherever possible. This seems surprising, and almost appears to give students a green light to attempt to cheat once during their studies. This surely sends out the wrong message – and seems harsh on the majority that work hard to complete work to a high, and ultimately legal, standard.
There are no statistics to explain why the students caught opted to cheat. Some would speculate the high tuition fees these days put unnecessary pressure on student’s to do well – leading them to resort to desperate measures. There are many, many ‘essay mills’ on the internet – making it easy for students to cheat. Technology in general has also had a change – with smartwatches among the gadgets used for cheating. Yet regardless of how easy it is, cheating is wrong.
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So it appears that cheating and plagiarism does happen at the University of Surrey – though on a very small scale. It is disappointing that cases are dealt with so leniently, it appears to send out the wrong message. Let’s hope that those who abide by the rules aren’t the ones losing out – hopefully their hard work pays off.